Rock Island, Ill., Nov. 16, 2013 – Junior Lucy Cheadle became the first NCAA Division III Midwest Regional cross country individual champion in Washington University in St. Louis school history as she led the WUSTL women to a third-place finish Saturday morning at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island, Ill. The Washington U. men clinched an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships by finishing second at the Midwest Regional.
The Washington U. women had four runners place in the top-30, and all seven in the top-75, of the field of 282 runners as the Bears scored 114 points to finish third in the team standings. University of Chicago won the women's team title with 60 points, while University of Wisconsin-La Crosse placed second with 101. Cheadle won the women's individual title by nearly six seconds over runner-up Emma Gilbertson of Wheaton College (Ill.). She is the first-ever individual champion, men's or women's, for Washington U. at the Midwest Regional Championships.
The Washington U. men placed all seven runners in the top-50 of the 275-person race to finish second as a team and earn an automatic berth in next week's NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships in Hanover, Ind. The Bears scored 101 points to place second behind North Central College (Ill.) who won its sixth consecutive Midwest Regional title with 56 points. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh was third with 118 points.
Sophomore Ellen Toennies (15th), freshman Sarah Curci (17th), senior Lizzy Handschy (29th) and senior Kathleen Valadez (58th) all recorded season-best times at the 6K distance to round out the Bears' scoring. Toennies shaved about 16 seconds off her previous personal-best 6K time, while Handschy's time was nearly 43 seconds faster than her career-best. Cheadle, Toennies, Curci and Handschy each earned All-Region honors by finishing in the top-35 individually.
Senior Kevin Sparks led the WUSTL men with a fifth-place finish. He ran a season-best 8K time and was less than four seconds off his career-best for the distance. Junior Drew Padgett (17th), junior Garrett Patrick (21st), senior Michael Ellenberger (22nd) and senior Elliott Petterson (37th) rounded out the scoring for Washington U. Sparks, Padgett, Patrick and Ellenberger each raced to All-Region honors. In addition to the season-best by Sparks, Patrick, Petterson and freshman Ethan Brodeur also clocked season-best 8K times for WUSTL.
MEN – 8K – 275 runners
5. Kevin Sparks – 24:33.3
17. Drew Padgett – 24:52.4
21. Garrett Patrick – 25:02.0
22. Michael Ellenberger – 25:02.2
37. Elliott Petterson – 25:22.3
48. Ethan Brodeur – 25:52.5
50. Ryan Senci – 25:54.3
WOMEN – 6K – 282 runners
1. Lucy Cheadle – 21:31.4
15. Ellen Toennies – 22:18.1
17. Sarah Curci – 22:21.6
29. Lizzy Handschy – 22:42.7
58. Kathleen Valadez – 23:17.2
70. Elizabeth Worley – 23:25.5
73. Annie Marggraff – 23:28.0
Up Next: Official qualifiers for the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championships will be announced in a press release on NCAA.com Sunday. In addition to the 16 automatic team qualifiers, 16 at-large teams and 56 other individuals will be selected to compete in the men's and women's races. The Championships are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind. The women's race begins at 11 a.m. (ET), followed by the men's race at 12:30 p.m.